Lynne Spears Sam Lutfi, The battle between Britney Spears’ parents and her ex-manager has already gotten ugly. An attorney for Sam Lutfi, who is suing Jamie and Lynne Spears for libel, described in court his client as a concerned friend who “worked very hard to keep Britney Spears off drugs” before a psychiatric episode in 2008 led to her father establishing a conservatorship for her estate and pushing Lutfi out of the picture with a restraining order.
“My client was made a scapegoat for the drug abuse and erratic behavior of Britney Spears,” Lutfi’s lawyer, Joseph Schleimer, said today in his opening statement. “She liked to use amphetamines—speed or uppers. She liked to take that drug. And most of the things that went wrong were related to that drug.”
Jamie and Lynn, who are divorced, sat together in the courtroom. They took notes during Schleimer’s statement and during breaks were seen huddling with their attorneys in the hallway outside.
Schleimer told the court that Lutfi met Britney in a nightclub at a point in her life when “30 or 40” paparazzi would be following her at any given time. Once he became part of her life, Schleimer continued, Lutfi would alert the paps to their comings and goings to encourage some kind of order amid the frenzy.
When she met Lutfi, Britney had already completed a stint in rehab (she went to Promises in Malibu in early 2007), fired her other managers and distanced herself from her parents, Schleimer said. She first referred to Lutfi as her manager when she brought him along to a meeting with record execs to discuss Blackout and, when they wanted him to leave, she insisted he was her manager.
Schleimer continued his statement claiming that Lutfi agreed to work for Britney in July 2007 for 15 percent of her earnings and under the condition that she stay clean and let him bring drug-sniffing dogs to search her house. The dogs, the attorney claimed, turned up a bag of crystal meth in a trap door and “hot spots” of residue on the carpet—which Lutfi later had ripped out and replaced.
To illustrate his point about the place Britney was at in her life when Lutfi was with her, Schleimer flashed on a screen for the jury to see the infamous photo of Britney, sporting a newly shaved head and an angry sneer, banging on a car with an umbrella.
Warned by L.A. Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bruguera that he would need to be able to back up the allegations he was making with evidence, Schleimer promised to provide either “testimony or documentary evidence.”